5 Strategies for On-Premise to Cloud Migration

Computers in an office

It’s common for businesses to delay on-premise to cloud migration because they can’t see a clear path forward. They understand the benefits of hosting applications in the cloud, but they struggle to formulate a migration plan that minimizes disruption and cost. In truth, migration isn’t as difficult as you might think, and there are many tried-and-tested strategies for migrating applications of any size or complexity onto cloud infrastructure.

In this article, we’ll give a brief overview of five on-premise to cloud migration strategies. They aren’t all appropriate for every business, but at least one will likely meet your cost, time, and functionality requirements. 

1. Lift-and-Shift

Also referred to as rehosting, the lift-and-shift strategy is often the initial step in cloud migration. It involves transferring applications from an on-premises environment to the cloud without modifications. In a lift-and-shift migration, the entire application, including its database, is moved to cloud servers.

Rehosting is ideal for businesses seeking to swiftly realize the cost savings and scalability afforded by cloud computing because it requires less time and resources than other strategies. It also provides a valuable learning experience for organizations new to cloud migration processes. 

However, while expedient, rehosting may not fully leverage the efficiencies and advantages of cloud-native features, potentially limiting optimization and performance in the long run.

2. Replatforming

Replatforming, often referred to as “lift, tinker, and shift,” makes a few cloud optimizations to realize a tangible benefit, but it leaves the application’s core architecture unchanged.  Because replatforming involves some modifications to help the application take advantage of  the new cloud platform, this strategy is slightly more complex than a basic lift-and-shift

Replatforming becomes particularly useful when the application requires cloud functionalities unavailable in an on-premises environment, such as auto-scaling, managed services, or serverless computing. Businesses that replatform benefit from the scalability, resilience, and reduced hosting and operational costs of the cloud while maintaining the core structure of their applications.

3. Refactoring/Re-architecting

Refactoring, also known as re-architecting, involves fundamentally altering the application’s architecture to leverage the cloud’s capabilities fully. This strategy is the most complex and resource-intensive, but it can provide the most significant benefits for performance, scalability, and operational cost reduction.

Refactoring/re-architecting is often chosen when businesses need to add functionality that would not be possible with the application’s present infrastructure.  For instance, an application might be refactored to a microservices architecture, allowing each component to scale independently, improving performance and resource usage. 

This approach requires careful planning and skilled resources, but it often makes the now cloud-native application easier to work on in the future, as well as helping businesses to take full advantage of their new cloud platform.  

4. Repurchasing

Repurchasing, often called“drop-and-shop,” involves moving to a different product and leveraging Software as a Service (SaaS) or managed application offerings. This strategy typically requires changing the existing licensing model and may involve adopting a new platform. For example, a business may move from its on-premise desktop hosting solution to a managed Desktop-as-a-Service platform.

Repurchasing can greatly reduce the overhead and resources required for managing and maintaining on-premise software. It’s a good strategy for businesses looking to modernize their applications quickly and reduce operational costs. However, it may require significant changes to existing workflows and processes and therefore requires careful planning and employee training.

5. Retiring and Retaining

The retiring and retaining strategy involves assessing and deciding which applications to keep on-premises (retain) and which ones to discontinue (retire). It’s often used alongside other cloud migration strategies when a business wants to overhaul its IT hosting strategy. It requires a thorough inventory of all applications and a careful assessment of the costs and benefits of migrating versus retaining each one.

The retiring part of this strategy helps to identify redundant, outdated, or seldom-used applications that can be discontinued, saving resources and reducing complexity. The retaining part helps in identifying applications that are better off staying on-premises for reasons that include data security, compliance requirements, or high migration costs. Applications and services that don’t fit retirement or retention criteria are ideal candidates for on-premise to cloud migration. 

Need Help with On-Premise to Cloud Migration?

Liberty Center One’s Cloud Migration Assistance service can help your business to migrate its on-premise applications to the cloud. We’ve helped dozens of businesses quickly and efficiently move their apps to flexible, scalable, and robust cloud platforms. Contact our cloud migration team to learn more.